[whatwg] Suggest making <dt> and <dd> valid in <ol>

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Jul 16 00:12:11 PDT 2012

On Mon, 16 Jul 2012, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
> 2012-07-16 5:36, Ian Yang wrote:
> >
> > Imo, <ul> means the order of the items is unimportant, not browsers 
> > can render the items in any order.
> But if the order is unimportant, there still _is_ an order.

The specification even mentions that the order can be specific and 
intentional; e.g. alphabetical. The spec doesn't say that there is no 
order, merely that the order is not important.

> Being unordered would be something else.

Something essentially impossible in the linear medium that is digital 
content. :-)

> And what would it matter to indicate the order as important if you only 
> do that in markup, without affecting rendering, search engines, etc., at 
> all?

It can affect search engines. In particular, for example, Google will 
extract items from lists in Web pages and display them in the search 
engine results snippets. If the list's order is unimportant, it can 
reorder the items to give the most relevant ones first. If the order _is_ 
important, it might make more sense for it to only show the first few.

> The only reason for this "unordered" list idea (a list is by definition 
> unordered; a set, or a multiset, is not) is the willingness to keep <ul> 
> and <ol> in HTML (it would be very impractical to omit one of them) 
> without admitting that they were introduced, and are being used, simply 
> for bulleted and numbered lists. So this resembles the confusing play 
> with words regarding <i> and <b>.

No, these are quite different. The <i> and <b> that were introduced in the 
contemporary version of the spec have entirely different semantics as the 
obsolete ones from the HTML4 days. They were only introduced after strong 
use cases were presented, and they happen to use the same element names 
because that allows us to leverage existing implementations. In the case 
of <ul> and <ol> they were kept more or less as defined in HTML4 (though 
with better wording and examples). To be honest I don't think we ever 
really studied whether or not they should be included; given their broad 
use and relatively minimal negatives, there was no reason to.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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